Cybear

Interstate quality spur to I-73/74

43 posts in this topic

This is my first post as a new member, so I'll jump right in.

I'm old enough to remember when I-40 was gerrymandered by the General Assembly to proceed from Wilmington to Raleigh to Asheville instead of from Wilmington to Charlotte to Asheville. In the years since, US 74 has become increasingly clogged with traffic on a substandard roadbed that meanders through Monroe, Wadesboro and other towns, while the hoped for growth that I-40 was theoretically going to generate in those economically depressed counties between Raleigh and Wilmington largely failed to materialize.

Now, US 220, which runs through NC from roughly Greensboro to Rockingham, has been reflagged as I-73/74. At Rockingham, one of the proposed highways heads over the border into eastern South Carolina and the other heads eastward at a 90 degree angle along US 74, ending in Brunswick County. Is there any organized effort to authorize an Interstate spur, similar to I-385 in South Carolina, between Charlotte and Rockingham? I-385 provides an interstate-quality connection from I-26 in Columbia to I-85 in Greenville and would appear to level the playing field for Spartanburg and Greenville.

I am aware of the US 74 connector proposals involving US 601 and I-485 through southern Mecklenburg and eastern Union counties. I'm talking about something much more comprehensive and arguably, something much more essential to the economic well-being of greater Charlotte. Where is our congressional delegation on this one?

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I don't really know any specific answers to your question but I'm sure one of our transit gurus around here will chime in eventually. I had heard though that the state is very interested in getting a better connection to Charlotte from Wilmington for the purpose of trying to get Charlotte to use Wilmington as a port instead of Charleston. Something about the US 74 bypass in Union County and continued improvement on 74 east of Union Co. I'm really not sure though. However I don't think that not having great access to Wilmington has hurt Charlotte too much since we have interstate access to Charleston for all of our port needs. If anything, this is a way to benefit Wilmington as it seems a lot of Charlotte money in both tourism and business dollars flows out to SC instead of staying in state.

Edited by appatone

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I don't get why the Monroe Bypass just doesn't become the Monroe-Wadesboro bypass, thus bypassing congestion on Highway 74 through both Union and Anson counties and linking with the new interstate in Rockingham.

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I don't get why the Monroe Bypass just doesn't become the Monroe-Wadesboro bypass, thus bypassing congestion on Highway 74 through both Union and Anson counties and linking with the new interstate in Rockingham.

Take a close look at the TIP, there are projects all along US74 to make it a freeway, but not an interstate level, sadly. I wish they'd throw a little more money at it to make it interstate level standards.

There is a thread in the NC forum about a fictional/proposed I30 between Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington.

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Even if they did make 74 more limited access between Charlotte and Wilmington, I don't see it having much impact. The port in Wilmington isn't competitive with Charleston which is a major container port now due to a lot of investment. Also, I-77 and I-26 are 70mph for most of the trip so it is a lot faster to get to Charleston than Wilmington, even if they do make some improvements to the highway.

It's interesting that NC has a huge amount of shoreline on the Atlantic. In fact I think it is only second to Florida in that regard, yet its port facilities are almost non-existant.

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This is my first post as a new member, so I'll jump right in.

I'm old enough to remember when I-40 was gerrymandered by the General Assembly to proceed from Wilmington to Raleigh to Asheville instead of from Wilmington to Charlotte to Asheville. In the years since, US 74 has become increasingly clogged with traffic on a substandard roadbed that meanders through Monroe, Wadesboro and other towns, while the hoped for growth that I-40 was theoretically going to generate in those economically depressed counties between Raleigh and Wilmington largely failed to materialize.

Now, US 220, which runs through NC from roughly Greensboro to Rockingham, has been reflagged as I-73/74. At Rockingham, one of the proposed highways heads over the border into eastern South Carolina and the other heads eastward at a 90 degree angle along US 74, ending in Brunswick County. Is there any organized effort to authorize an Interstate spur, similar to I-385 in South Carolina, between Charlotte and Rockingham? I-385 provides an interstate-quality connection from I-26 in Columbia to I-85 in Greenville and would appear to level the playing field for Spartanburg and Greenville.

I am aware of the US 74 connector proposals involving US 601 and I-485 through southern Mecklenburg and eastern Union counties. I'm talking about something much more comprehensive and arguably, something much more essential to the economic well-being of greater Charlotte. Where is our congressional delegation on this one?

To your last question, out to lunch.

There was an 'upgrade 74 to interstate grade' proposal roundabout 1970, which quickly collapsed, and the never-settled eastern route of I-40 was zig-zagged into its' final, constructed alignment around 1979-80. The I-74 and I-73 plans in the early 90s were the final nail in the coffin for a good quality Asheville-Charlotte-Wilmington freeway, with a single route number over what would logically be a single route. I've written legistlators with the idea on a few occasions, but I doubt we'll see anything come of this.

An additional hurdle - I think planning for a project like this that would actually materialize (in something less that 50 years) would also require local officials along a corridor from Wilmington to Asheville dialogue and map out a comprehensive, unified vision for such a project.

Money is tighter than ever - what with all that "hoped for growth that I-40 was theoretically going to generate in those economically depressed counties between Raleigh and Wilmington largely failed to materialize" inspiring numerous other obscure freeway projects. Thus I think a perhaps better vision for the same Asheville-Charlotte-Wilmington corridor might be high-speed rail - a pipe dream perhaps, but with Charlotte (and much of the southern border area of NC in actuality) walled out of road schemes largely oriented to spread theoretical benefits elsewhere (at the expense of practical and realistic necessities), some other kind of visioning to further integrate the already interconnected economies of the Wilmington, Charlotte and Asheville areas will have to be the focus.

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There was actually a study in the earlier part of the decade that looked at a state operated rail line that went from Asheville - Charlotte - Wilmington. The plan was deemed unfeasible, and shelved. The current plan, which is currently on hold, is to connect Asheville to the state operated rail system via Salisbury. So if you are in Charlotte and want to take the train to Asheville you have to travel through Salisbury first.

And no surprise, the current plan for Wilmington is to connect it to the state system via Raleigh. That study was completed just last year.

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It is funny to me that strategic transportation decisions really leave Charlotte out in this state. All interstate routes seem to be required to go through Greensboro, and most new strategic corridors seem to be focused on connecting Raleigh to eastern NC.

The upgraded US 74 to get Charlotte residents to the NC coast and NC mountains is a no-brainer! Yet it seems that our strategic transportation thinkers don't have enough of one to realize this. After all the difficulty and time in getting the NC beaches near Wilmington last summer, I am certainly not doing it again any time soon. I plan, instead, to shave an hour off the time and go to Charleston area beaches. Note that Wilmington and Charleston are exactly the same distance from Charlotte, but Wilmington takes more than an hour longer to get to because of the small and low speed roads.

It is unfathomable as to why both I74 and I73 had to routed through Greensboro. Did Stokes county really need a major freeway? Why couldn't one of them have been routed through Charlotte and then down US 74. But really, those routes were determined a long time ago, so let's just say that is fair, as Charlotte was much smaller 20-30 years ago. However, now we are growing into one of the largest cities in the country. Why is such a battle to get strategic transportation routes to go through here?

Is it because our regional NCDOT headquarters is in, um, Albemarle? A town so small and obscure (I'm not really knocking the town, just juxtaposing with Charlotte) that is was mocked by its own most famous resident Kelly Pickler.

It is starting to get really annoying that the interstates like 85 and 77 get smaller as you near this city from some directions. Let alone freeway connections due east and due west.

Meanwhile, every town in eastern NC is getting a cat's cradle of major freeway connectors between each of them.

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It is funny to me that strategic transportation decisions really leave Charlotte out in this state. All interstate routes seem to be required to go through Greensboro, and most new strategic corridors seem to be focused on connecting Raleigh to eastern NC.

The upgraded US 74 to get Charlotte residents to the NC coast and NC mountains is a no-brainer! Yet it seems that our strategic transportation thinkers don't have enough of one to realize this. After all the difficulty and time in getting the NC beaches near Wilmington last summer, I am certainly not doing it again any time soon. I plan, instead, to shave an hour off the time and go to Charleston area beaches. Note that Wilmington and Charleston are exactly the same distance from Charlotte, but Wilmington takes more than an hour longer to get to because of the small and low speed roads.

It is unfathomable as to why both I74 and I73 had to routed through Greensboro. Did Stokes county really need a major freeway? Why couldn't one of them have been routed through Charlotte and then down US 74. But really, those routes were determined a long time ago, so let's just say that is fair, as Charlotte was much smaller 20-30 years ago. However, now we are growing into one of the largest cities in the country. Why is such a battle to get strategic transportation routes to go through here?

Is it because our regional NCDOT headquarters is in, um, Albemarle? A town so small and obscure (I'm not really knocking the town, just juxtaposing with Charlotte) that is was mocked by its own most famous resident Kelly Pickler.

It is starting to get really annoying that the interstates like 85 and 77 get smaller as you near this city from some directions. Let alone freeway connections due east and due west.

Meanwhile, every town in eastern NC is getting a cat's cradle of major freeway connectors between each of them.

It's been a while and I don't recall the specifics, but the routing of 73 and 74 through the Triad was in response to a legislative push from those areas.

In light of the news about the rail study between Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington, at this point I'd only (now) think that the only way we'll see any action on the entire corridor is if Wilmington, Lumberton, Rockingham, Shelby, Hendersonville or Asheville were to make the push. If it was initiated by anyone in Charlotte, I'd be very, very shocked to not see it shot down immediately.

Especially down US74 to Wilmington, I don't know if it's clear to many people just how much tourist money is going straight over the state line and down 77 and 26 to Charleston.

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It's been a while and I don't recall the specifics, but the routing of 73 and 74 through the Triad was in response to a legislative push from those areas.

In light of the news about the rail study between Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington, at this point I'd only (now) think that the only way we'll see any action on the entire corridor is if Wilmington, Lumberton, Rockingham, Shelby, Hendersonville or Asheville were to make the push. If it was initiated by anyone in Charlotte, I'd be very, very shocked to not see it shot down immediately.

Especially down US74 to Wilmington, I don't know if it's clear to many people just how much tourist money is going straight over the state line and down 77 and 26 to Charleston.

Lets not forget the new container terminal being built just south of the state port. Maybe this was in response to the new interstates and hope that the Wilmington area isn't shut out. Of course leave it to local politicians to totally murk the the lines between common senses and lunacy. First of all the current plan for 73/74 is absurd. Is there a need for both. Second look at the route for 74. Why in the world does it not terminate somewhere close to your states soon to be largest port facility. To wish for a spur from Charlotte or Wilmington is a pipe dream for real. The DOT has to complete 73/74 a useless loop around Fayetteville and continued upgrades to bridges in the Outer Banks. I can understand the latter for hurricane evac situations. I am sure there are other projects they are working on that just makes me scratch my head..

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The psychotic routing for I74 near Wilmington, I believe, is a perfect symbol for the wastefulness of NC's funding formula that favors the rural east. That section should simply not be built, period. It is redundant with I73 in SC, but NCDOT must rarely look at maps that include SC's plans to notice the redundancy. If the law says I74 can't go to Wilmington, then it should simply stop before veering off of US74.

That crazy spur even has a website on the strategic highways website on NCDOT's website, so clearly it is moving forward (or should I say backward).

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Even if they did make 74 more limited access between Charlotte and Wilmington, I don't see it having much impact. The port in Wilmington isn't competitive with Charleston which is a major container port now due to a lot of investment. Also, I-77 and I-26 are 70mph for most of the trip so it is a lot faster to get to Charleston than Wilmington, even if they do make some improvements to the highway.

It's interesting that NC has a huge amount of shoreline on the Atlantic. In fact I think it is only second to Florida in that regard, yet its port facilities are almost non-existant.

I don't know the compete answer but I did read up on the history of the sounds and rivers of our coastline. The Pamlico and Albemarle are shallow. I think the depth never gets deeper than 30 feet. In colonial days there were several maritime ports but as the ships got larger the sounds could not accomodate the ships drafts. In some ways the outer banks have hindered growth because of the shallow shoals located just offshore which pose grave hazards to ships...hence the Cape Hatteras lighthouse being so tall. Also Morehead City has port facilities but is mainly for non-containerized stuff. It is a major player when it comes to rubber and raw materials. I know it has room for expansion and in all honestly is in a better position than Wilmington. It has a channel depth of 45 feet and is located on a semi natural deep water inlet. Also if HR ever gets to congested it could be a good alternative since it is only a couple of days sail from Norfolk.

That leaves the Cape Fear river which has its own set of shoals at the mouth of the river. It doesn't help that the river itself drains a large portion of the states sandhill region which in turn leads to heavy sand and silt deposits. The channel at the state port was dredged to a depth of 42.5 feet last year. Increased container traffic has followed but the depth will not keep up with a new era of larger container ships that can only call on ports with depths of 45 feet or greater. I think the new container port will be 45 feet but I'm not sure. I know the port of HR and Charleston have dredged to 45 feet or grerater already.

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I don't know the compete answer but I did read up on the history of the sounds and rivers of our coastline. The Pamlico and Albemarle are shallow. I think the depth never gets deeper than 30 feet. In colonial days there were several maritime ports but as the ships got larger the sounds could not accomodate the ships drafts. In some ways the outer banks have hindered growth because of the shallow shoals located just offshore which pose grave hazards to ships...hence the Cape Hatteras lighthouse being so tall. Also Morehead City has port facilities but is mainly for non-containerized stuff. It is a major player when it comes to rubber and raw materials. I know it has room for expansion and in all honestly is in a better position than Wilmington. It has a channel depth of 45 feet and is located on a semi natural deep water inlet. Also if HR ever gets to congested it could be a good alternative since it is only a couple of days sail from Norfolk.

That leaves the Cape Fear river which has its own set of shoals at the mouth of the river. It doesn't help that the river itself drains a large portion of the states sandhill region which in turn leads to heavy sand and silt deposits. The channel at the state port was dredged to a depth of 42.5 feet last year. Increased container traffic has followed but the depth will not keep up with a new era of larger container ships that can only call on ports with depths of 45 feet or greater. I think the new container port will be 45 feet but I'm not sure. I know the port of HR and Charleston have dredged to 45 feet or grerater already.

This is very true. I remember learning this some years back in a NC history class. Numerous ports shut down along the coastline due to the shallow waters' inability to host the newer, larger ships. The outer banks essentially act as a barrier to large ships. It would be nice to have a powerful port in our state, but our waters are far too shallow.

Having a spur would be great for tourism. I could see Wilmington growing much more significantly if this were to ever happen. The state should not look at it as a convenience to Charlotte, but a growth factor for Wilmington.

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Does anyone know how far along from construction are the plans to widen U.S. 52 to four lanes from Wadesboro to Salisbury?

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Does anyone know how far along from construction are the plans to widen U.S. 52 to four lanes from Wadesboro to Salisbury?

There's currently construction on US 52 just south of Albemarle. I live in Anson co. and I haven't heard anything about construction starting anytime soon here.

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Ummm... wrong forum, I think. Moving to the NC forum.

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There's currently construction on US 52 just south of Albemarle. I live in Anson co. and I haven't heard anything about construction starting anytime soon here.

Alias, do you know what the construction south of Albemarle is for?

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Alias, do you know what the construction south of Albemarle is for?

I'm not sure exactly what's going on but you can see where a new road is being constructed that veers off of hwy 52 just south of Albemarle, as if bypassing the town. I can't find a map of the project so I can't say exactly where it will reconnect to hwy 52. Other than that there is no other signs of widening that I know of. I can't imagine the DOT widening 52 south of Norwood anytime soon, I just don't think there's enough traffic. I'll try to take a few pictures next time I'm up that way. There's also some construction on hwy 138 near the intersection of 24/27, I'm not sure if these two projects are related though.

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Also, have plans for the Wadesboro Bypass been scrapped? Two decades ago, it seemed that the bypass would be built imminently, but after Governor Martin left office, it seemed to disappear as a viable project.

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Also, have plans for the Wadesboro Bypass been scrapped? Two decades ago, it seemed that the bypass would be built imminently, but after Governor Martin left office, it seemed to disappear as a viable project.

I haven't heard anything about the Wadesboro bypass. I found a few maps from the DOT of current projects and the visionary plan. I'm not sure how old they are but the visionary plan includes the Wadesboro bypass. The maps can explain it better than I can. By the way, the construction I was talking about earlier in Albemarle is visible on the current construction map, the what i called"bypass" actually leads to hwy 138 near the intersection of 24/27, hwy 52 N and 138 S.

Current Projects

Visionary Plan

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The Wadesboro bypass is approved and in the 2009-2015 STIP, but is not currently funded.

NCDOT Project Search - R-4441 (Wadesboro bypass)

NCDOT Division 10 STIP

The final link in making U.S. 74 a complete freeway between Asheville and Charlotte - the Shelby bypass - should begin construction in 2012.

NCDOT Project Search - R-2707 (Shelby bypass)

NCDOT Division 12 STIP

Edited by cowboy_wilhelm

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Thanks for the links, guys. I didn't know about the Shelby bypass. The Wadesboro bypass should be extended far to the east to link with the Rockingham Bypass.

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The speed limit has been upgraded to 60mph east of Lilesville to Richmond County within the last year or so.

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US74 is 4 lanes from Charlotte to Wilmington now. US74 in now open as a freeway in Roberson County to I95. From Lumberton, speed limit is 60 to Whiteville and 65 around Whiteville and 60 to just pass Bolton. It is much better that it was a year ago.

Edited by RiverwoodCLT

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The final link in making U.S. 74 a complete freeway between Asheville and Charlotte - the Shelby bypass - should begin construction in 2012.

You mean the Shelby bypass Bypass. :)

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